Pharmaceutical Advertisement Analysis

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Portfolio Project: Pharmaceutical Advertisements
Most Americans do not see their doctor for advice about the stock market, so why would they look to Madison Avenue for advice about their diabetes? As one of only two countries in the world allowing direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing of prescription medications, it is a multi-billion dollar payday in the United States for pharmaceutical companies, advertisers, and mass media (Pro Con, 2014). Proponents of drug advertising claim they promote health by informing patients about diseases and possible treatments, and thus Americans are healthier and better informed because of the ads (Weinmeyer, 2013). This directly refutes research at the Milken Institute (2007), where scientists found more than
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Therefore, it is not surprising the most vocal proponents of DTC drug advertising are the pharmaceutical companies. For instance, Merck, with total assets of $105.65 billion, claimed DTC is a helpful way to inform patients about diseases and therapeutic options to discuss with their physicians (Merck, 2008). Nearly all pharmaceutical companies used similar verbiage to express their virtuous reasons for marketing its drugs directly to consumers. Certainly, the free market of business economics is the American way; however, DTC advertiser’s motives are less than virtuous and contribute to the high cost of healthcare and drug costs. According to Shaw (2008), the majority of advertising expenditures fall within seven categories: heartburn; insomnia; cholesterol; asthma and allergy; nail fungus; depression; and erectile dysfunction. In turn, drugs used to treat these disorders are often among the best-selling drugs. The popularity of these drugs correlates to increased revenue for the pharmaceutical companies, which motivates more advertising, but not more research. Gagnon and Lexchin (2008) revealed pharmaceutical companies routinely spend twice the amount on marketing in the United States than developing new or safer drugs. The following table directly refutes the drug company’s assertions the …show more content…
Certainly, prescriptions for life-threatening conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other serious conditions are now possible because of advances in pharmacology, and no one denies their usefulness. However, the same drug companies that manufacture life-sustaining therapies also flood the market with their brand-name drugs for more common ailments. This advertising has become so ubiquitous; many cannot remember a time without the ever-present ads. Indeed, there was a time when the thought of going around the family doctor for prescription drug information seemed ethically unconscionable. However, a subtle societal change began in the early 1980s with the allowance of a few print ads. According to Bradley (2010), in 1995, the pharmaceutical lobby pressured the Federal Drug Administration to allow less restrictive DTC under the guise of free speech, which allowed the mass marketing seen today. Critics of the advertising point to the exponential increase of prescription drug use from that date forward. In the most current data available from 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014) reported, 48.5% of all persons in the United States are taking at least one prescription medication, 21.7% are taking three or more, and during the 30 days prior to collecting the data, 10.6% were taking five or

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